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Breaking ground on a dream

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JACKSONVILLE – Ground was broken on another EverBank Field first Thursday.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping was among a group of representatives from the Jaguars and Dream Finders Homes who were at EverBank Thursday breaking ground on a structure "never before seen" at an NFL stadium.

Dream Finders Homes and the Jaguars have partnered to construct a house in the Fan Entertainment Zone at EverBank. The house will be on display at the stadium inside Gate 4 for 24 months, after which it will be moved to an off-site location.

Dream Finders will then set the structure and donate it to a military veteran.

"This is not something you see at every stadium," Lamping said. "It will be the first of its kind."

Lamping joked that the house was the Jacksonville version of the hunting lodge in the corner of Craven Cottage, the field where Jaguars Owner Shad Khan's soccer franchise – Fulham Football Club – plays in Fulham, London.

Dream Finders Homes President/Owner Patrick Zalupski said the idea originated from a department store in Paris, France, that had a home built on top of it.

"I'd heard about, and was thinking of unique ways we could continue to enhance our sponsorship with the Jaguars," Zalupski said. "I came up with kind of the idea and floated it by the staff not knowing if it would get traction or not. I should have known the Jaguars – with their pro-business, pro-community nature with the current regime – would support it and endorse it 100 percent."

Said Lamping, "It's been done at a department store in Paris and it has been done at a historic soccer grounds in London – and now here in Jacksonville at EverBank Field. Whenever you can put Jacksonville in the same sentence as Paris and London, I think we're doing OK."

Lamping added that the house will be a display home while at EverBank Field and also will be used for hospitality.

"It's always great when you can find a partner that also wants to focus on those things that not only support their commercial endeavors but also supports our goals as it relates to fan entertainment," Lamping said.  

Dream Finders Homes is the Official Homebuilder of the Jaguars. The 2015 Jaguars season will be the second consecutive year for Dream Finders to host the "Take-It-To-The House" promotion.

"We love it when we can find companies that have the same aspirations we do," Lamping said. "We're obviously first and foremost the Jacksonville Jaguars, but we're trying to grow our brand regionally, nationally and even internationally.

"That's no different than Dream Finders Homes. They're based here in Jacksonville and do the majority of their work here in Jacksonville, but they have a fast-growing national profile. We're thrilled to have them as our partner for a lot of reasons."

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